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Let's Go Thailand 2nd Edition Paperback – November 18, 2004
All Books, All the Time
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- Associated Press
"Guides that penetrate the veneer of holiday brochures and mine the grit of real life."
- The Economist
Top customer reviews
For example, those cities in which no map is provided, the descriptions of the cities are virtually worthless for navigating. In more than a few cases, restaurants or accomodations listed in text are not included with the corresponding map. We often got the impression that first-hand research was not done for some of the activities or accomodations - mostly for southern Thailand. For example, a describedly tedious 1-hr "rocky jungle" walk from Ko Phi Phi's Thon Sai Village to Long Beach actually takes about 10-15 minutes, mostly on a fairly wide dirt road. This leads me to believe the researcher took the word of a longtail boat driver, looking to sell a fare, instead of doing the needed first-hand research. More commonly, it became apparent that rather inconsistent reviews of accomodations were likely done either superficially or lifted from previous versions of this book.
Overall, the book is better than Lonely Planet for budget travelers (which is too broad). LG does lack in background information concerning many of the sites. However, it is a pretty good guide about how to travel around and where to stay. Some of the side trips are nice (Wat Phutok in Northern Thailand is a must if in the neighborhood). Even when there are times when a little more attention to detail, consistency in reviews, and correspondence between maps and text would have been appreciated. This book will generally get you to the right parts of town, in the right part of the country, for about the right price, and with a decent map for many towns. Where it can be frustrating, well, mai pen rai.
Extremely impressive is the section titled "Alternatives to Tourism" where scores of NGO (non government organizations) are listed. Of the three guidebooks Let's Go has the best source for volunteering in Thailand. Conservation organizations, medical organizations, urban and rural development organizations are all listed. If you want to study in Thailand this guide has many school listings. Also, its history section is succinct and stellar.
Where the guide runs third is in the quality and quantity of maps, it has fewer accommodations and restaurants recommended, and its description of sights that you will be seeing is cursory.. For example the famous, must see, Bangkok Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace received only 3 paragraphs in this guide, Rough Guide gives you five pages of description. Extremely tacky are the ads found in the guide that promote everything from clothing to guesthouses. Bad.
If you are strapped for cash and going to travel Thailand on the `cheep' then this guide along with "Travels' Tales Thailand' (see my review) should be in your knapsack. Recommended 3.5 stars
I have just returned from a two month trip to Thailand and would have found it much harder without this book! Every place you would think to visit (and a lot you wouldn't!) are in this book.
Where this book differs though is that it isn't afraid to drop a few opinions. I found that while travelling you havn't got time to go everywhere and find everything out for yourself so it's nice to have an opinion to consult. Lonley planet tends to tell you where you can go and stay but doesn't give you much infomation to base your decision on. I had this book and a lonley planet at one point and quickly sold the lonely planet.
There are some vital pieces of information for Thailand that just aren't in the lonely planet, for instance if you wish to extend you visa by crossing a border (the cheapest way!)Let's go tells you how to do this and what you'll need for every available border crossing, information just not in the Lonely planet.
This book realy centres on the budget concious, with prices for rooms and typical meals included. Although there are a few mentioned, if you want to stay in more upmarket places, buy a different book!!
The maps in the book could do with improving, however I didn't find this to be a major problem.
I don't normally write reviews for books I buy, but I was so impressed with this book that I felt I had to. An excellent budget guide, and with a number of interesting articles, actually a good read!! Buy it if you're thinking of going to Thailand.
I have been living in Thailand for 6 months now and have referenced this often. Its descriptions are right on the money. It gives you all the pertinent information that you will need. The places it recommends are accurate to their description.
THe only thing I wish this would list is the Thai script for the places it recommends. You will pronounce everything wrong because it is written in English the way a Thai person would read it and not the way a native English speaker would.
I can speak Thai and try to say where I want to go according to the spelling in this book and the people have no idea where I want to go. I have to rethink how Thai people would read the English and try pronouncing it that way. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to travel with this if I didn't speak Thai.